Hand placing a piece of pager into a clear ballot box in front of the United States flag

Early voting on the rise ahead of midterm elections

© iStock - sefa ouzel

Casey Harper

(The Center Square) – With one week until election day, new research shows more and more Americans have already voted.

Gallup released new polling data that found far more Americans are voting early these midterms than the midterm elections in years past.

“Four in 10 U.S. registered voters say they plan to vote before Election Day or have already voted, a higher proportion than in recent midterm elections," Gallup said. "Significantly more voters plan to vote before Election Day this year (41 percent) than did in 2010 (26 percent), the first time Gallup asked the question in a midterm election year.”

Early voting and mail-in voting has become an area of focus for both parties’ campaign efforts along with legal challenges regarding election integrity.

Late Tuesday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled in a major elections case that mail-in ballots that have incorrect information or leave parts blank cannot be counted. Pennsylvania often has close races and was one of the states in the center of the questions surrounding the integrity of the 2020 presidential election.

“Today’s Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling is a victory for the rule of law,” said Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Penn. “The law in Pennsylvania is clear: Mail-in ballot envelops must be dated. Counting undated ballots would be in violation of the law. Not a close call.”

Gallup’s polling data shows that these legal challenges become more important. While early voting is higher than previous midterms, it doesn’t top the COVID-era voting trends, where the pandemic drastically changed voting habits.

“Two years ago, 64 percent of U.S. registered voters planned to vote early versus 32 percent who planned to vote on Election Day,” the group said. “It is unclear how much pandemic concerns boosted early voting in 2020 because the practice has historically been more common in presidential than in midterm election years.

“Early voting intentions this year, though more prevalent than in the last (2018) midterm election, match those from the 2016 presidential election (40 percent),” Gallup added.